Whether you just found out you’re expecting or the baby will be here next month, preparing and decorating a nursery for him or her will likely be one of your biggest tasks during the pregnancy. One thing to keep in mind with nurseries is that the crib is typically the focal point. Not only is the crib the biggest piece of furniture in the room, your baby will be spending a lot of time in it.
It’s worth your time to research and select the safest, most stylish crib you can find that fits in with the décor of the rest of the nursery. Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time with this decision, especially if you need to order the crib for delivery before the baby’s birth.
If You Choose a Theme, Be Sure to Stick with It
It isn’t necessary to select a theme for the nursery if you don’t want to. After all, your baby won’t remember anything about the time he or she spent in that room. If you do decide to go with a them such as wild west for your son or ballerina for your daughter, incorporate elements of the theme into several areas of the room.
A theme can be as simple as selecting specific colors or as elaborate as decorating the whole room after the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme. There’s no right or wrong answer and the only limit is your imagination. Just make sure it’s a theme you can live with for at least the next few years since you will remember time spent in the nursery even if your child doesn’t.
Go for Bold Colors and Patterns Along with a Personalized Touch
While soft pastels might have been the colors of choice for nurseries in the past, the well-regarded pediatrician Dr. William Sears recommends going with bold colors and patterns instead. Black and white stripes, for example, help to stimulate your baby’s developing vision as do dark and light contrasting colors. Faster visual development among infants leads to faster brain growth and the opportunity for much early learning.
Keep in mind that any sharply contrasting color pattern will do when selecting colors for your baby’s nursery. Regardless of the pattern you choose, some places to consider placing it include an area rug, mural wall, wallpaper, upholstery, and other types of textiles in your baby’s room. You can even add contrasting patterns to the ceiling to give your baby something to look up at while lying in the crib or on the changing table.
Adding pictures of family members in the nursery, especially those your baby won’t see every day, can help him or her make strong associations to loved ones. This personal touch creates a warm environment that can help your baby feel more secure when you’re not right there. Adding the baby’s name in big block letters on the wall is another way to customize the nursey to make it feel more personal and homey.
Consider Safety When Setting Up Furniture
You and your partner will be visiting your baby’s nursery hundreds of times in the middle of the night. The last thing you want to do is stub a toe or experience a more serious injury because you tripped over an ill-placed piece of furniture in the dark. This is something to give significant thought to when designing the nursery in the first place. Be sure to provide wide walking paths and tuck away anything that presents a tripping hazard to you or a potential choking hazard to your baby.
It’s important to pick up the clutter in your baby’s nursey each night before going to bed as this also helps to eliminate the potential for serious injury. Creating plenty of storage space in the nursery means that you have places to put everything and don’t have to risk leaving them out to trip over later.
Set Up the Nursery to Keep Everything in Easy Reach of the Changing Table
Considering that you will use the changing table several times a day, make things easy for yourself and safe for your baby by keeping all supplies close to it. This includes diapers, wipes, ointment, toys to distract your baby, clothing changes, footwear when you’re going outside, pajamas, a thermometer, and everything else you need to keep your baby happy, comfortable, and safe. The danger in placing these items too far away is that your baby could roll off the changing table when you reach to grab something you need even a few feet away from you.
Keep the Nursery as Clean as Possible by Putting Up Washable Wallpaper
Little boys are notorious for spraying the nursery wall with urine while babies of both genders become toddlers and wipe things on the wall that they shouldn’t. Unfortunately, stains on the wall can make the nursery look dirty and run-down quickly. The best way to avoid this problem is to put up washable wallpaper from the start. That way you can wipe off anything that ends up on the wallpaper that should have gone somewhere else.
Make Sure That You’re Comfortable Too
Although rocking your baby to sleep night after night gets exhausting, one day you will look back and remember these days with fondness. In the meantime, you might as well make sure that you’re comfortable too. For some parents, that means putting in a rocking chair that fits them well while other moms and dads prefer to lie down and pat their baby’s back on a daybed or sofa. You might even consider stocking a small refrigerator with water and snacks for those long nursing sessions or setting up reading material when you just want to spend time in the nursery while your baby sleeps.
Consider How the Nursery Furniture and Decorations Can Grow with Your Baby
As any parent sending their child off to college for the first time can tell you, babies grow all too fast. That adorable nursery you spent so much time preparing won’t work quite as well for a child in preschool or elementary school. As you choose furniture for the nursery, do so with a mind towards the future. For example, some cribs convert to small beds for toddlers and preschoolers and some changing tables can live a second life as a dresser once your child is past the diaper stage.
Add a Dimmer Light to the Nursery
If your baby is enjoying tummy time on the floor, you obviously want the room well-lit to ensure his or her safety. When it’s time for a nap or to go to sleep at night, the ability to dim the lights makes it easier for your baby to make the transition from wakefulness to sleepiness. Just as with adults, lighting can do wonders to set the mood for your baby and tone for the day.
Baby-Proof Before It’s Necessary
Not only will you put your baby to sleep, feed him or her, and complete thousands of diaper changes in the nursery, it’s also a place for your developing child to play. While setting up the nursery, get down on your hands and knees if possible to look for potential hazards from a baby’s perspective. Cover outlets, tuck away cords, place breakable items out of baby’s reach or in another room, and pull the crib away from the window and any blinds or window treatments that your baby could become entangled in.
Completing these tasks before the baby is born saves you valuable time once the baby is here and you’re much busier. It also allows you more time to just slow down and enjoy your baby. If this isn’t your first child or you have spent time around other babies, you know how quickly their curiosity leads them into potentially dangerous situations. It’s best to head those problems off before they even become a possibility.
Make the Nursery as Unique as Your Baby and Family
No two babies and families are exactly alike, and this applies to nursery decoration just as much as anything else. Even if you know the gender of the baby you’re expecting, there’s no law that says you must decorate the nursery in traditional male or female colors and themes. Just focus on safety, usability, and a décor the whole family enjoys and you can’t go wrong with decorating your baby’s nursery.